Indian drug major Wockhardt is emerging as a major global player in the business of Covid-19 vaccines, as the company has entered into a collaboration with Pune-based Serum Institute of India to make vaccines for different global markets.

Wockhardt and Serum Life Sciences UK, a subsidiary of the world's largest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India, will make a new sterile fill and finish facility in Wrexham, North Wales in the UK. A profit sharing arrangement has been made between the two parties for this new facility, which will deliver 150 million vaccine doses of multiple vaccines.

"This collaboration between Serum Life Sciences and Wockhardt UK is testament to the excellence and innovation that both parties bring to the global vaccine market," said Dr. Habil Khorakiwala, founder and chairman, of Wockhardt. "The collaboration will be instrumental in building long-term capacity in the UK. With this, we seek to further bolster supply resilience and support the global rollout of vaccines," said Natasha Poonawalla, chairperson, Serum Life Sciences.

Wockhardt UK was manufacturing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with the UK government and AstraZeneca. By August last year, Wockhardt had supplied 50-60 million doses of Astra Zeneca's vaccine to the UK government from its fill-finish facility in Wrexham, by then accounting for half the vaccinations in that country. The company was also assigned to supply another 60-70 million doses for the UK government. Wockhardt was also planning to create additional 100-150 million doses of fill finish capacities, as part of contract manufacturing.

In addition, the company also has a licensing agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which owns Russia's Sputnik/ Sputnik Light vaccine. As per the agreement a few months ago with RDIF and its coordination partner Enso Healthcare, the company has been assigned to make 100 million doses of Sputnik V/Sputnik Light by June 2022 and subject to certain conditions, will supply another 500 million doses by June 2023. In February, the Indian drug regulatory office Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) gave permission to export up to 80 million doses of Sputnik Light and up to 20 million doses of Sputnik V Component I vaccine. These are being manufactured from Wockhardt's bulk vaccine and Fill-Finish manufacturing facilities at Waluj and Shendra in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Serum Life Sciences UK markets SARS-CoV-2 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India, which is developing several SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in partnership, as well as in-house candidates. It makes Covishield and Covivax and another 3-4 Covid-19 vaccines are in the pipeline. It also has a marketing agreement with Bangalore based Biocon to sell Covid-19 vaccines in global markets.

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